Basic Plots: Vonnegut’s From Bad to Worse

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers. I’ve been talking about Vonnegut’s five basic plots. So far, I’ve discussed Man in Hole, Boy Meets Girl, and Cinderella, which you can find by clicking the links. Today, I’m going to talk about the fourth plot type, From Bad to Worse.

As I’ve described before, Vonnegut plotted all stories on a grid. The vertical axis was the GI-Axis, and it ran from good fortune to ill fortune. The horizontal axis was the BE-Axis, and it ran from the beginning to the end of the story.

From Bad to Worse

The From Bad to Worse story type is one that we don’t see often and is exactly as it sounds. Things start off bad and get progressively worse. In this case, our protagonist begins the story on the GI-Axis well below the midpoint and his arc goes down. There is no moment that trends toward the positive, and…

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